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Friday, November 23, 2012

Blue Friday

While everyone rushed to the mall today and enjoyed "Black Friday" and a day off, most people probably recognized that retail workers were busy at work and police and fire never get a day off.  Maybe yesterday while giving thanks we may even have thought of those folks.  The employees of Wal-Mart have certainly been in the news as not getting to enjoy the holiday, and I can't disagree.  But as I enjoyed a day off with family and friends, I said a silent thank you to an often overlooked group of people who also operate 24/7 rain, snow, sleet, hurricane, super storm, drought, or flood.  It is not the post office.  It is the water and wastewater operators that made sure your holiday was free from any considerations when you visited the restroom during your festivities or stopped to get a refreshing drink from the water fountain at the mall.

These folks don't spend the holidays with their families, in fact many of them spend the day doing something you would not imagine doing, even on a regular work day.  They do it because they know one simple truth.  The lifestyle we depend upon, and the beautiful resources we know that improve our neighborhoods and make a place a home, and not a geographic location, need to be manned and protected even as most of the country stops to celebrate holiday.  So as we begin to close the books on another Thanksgiving and you think of those Wal-Mart workers who are just now making their tired way to their cars, also think about the water and wastewater professionals, who spent the holiday season making sure you never had to give water and sanitation a second thought.  I often ask folks when I am talking about the industry and representing my utility: have you called up the water system to thank them for delivering clean drinking water and providing safe sanitation?  It may seem like a small thing, but I promise you when people say a developed country and an undeveloped country they could just as easily be talking about the state of their water and wastewater infrastructure.

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